Food in Jails Working Group
Food in Jails is a coalition led by PG Changemakers, Life After Release, and supported by the Food Equity Council. It is a human right to choose food that honors your identity and is healthy, safe, culturally appropriate, and appealing. However, the poor quality of food in the County jails has triggered our work to highlight the health impacts and racial discrimination in Prince George’s County jails by working with folx directly impacted – persons currently or formerly affected by the justice system. This coalition aims to raise awareness of the current food environment and its associated health outcomes; in an effort to improve the carceral system’s food environment, leading to improved health and well-being, requiring fewer resources.
The coalition members share the below values and acknowledgments:
- Food is used as a form of control and violence in prisons.
- The food environment in prisons is inextricably connected to the food environment in communities.
- Incarceration is used as a form of racial violence and control and the prison system is a relic of chattel slavery.
- It is a human right to be able to choose food that honors your identity and is healthy, safe, culturally appropriate, and appealing.
- Poverty is a driver of incarceration. Poverty itself is a product of systemic injustices including racist policies such as enslavement, redlining, and tax policy.
Through our campaign, Food Should Heal Not Harm is working on assessing the current menu, conducting interviews, and focus groups with persons currently or formerly affected by the justice system to learn from their experiences inside the carceral system and build grassroots power to campaign for policies that advance food justice.